ERIC Number: ED411550
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Civic Responsibility as a Justification for the Teaching of Public Speaking: An Analysis of Basic Course Textbooks.
Persi, Nina C.; Denman, William N.
A study examined public speaking textbooks from the early 1900s to the present time with regard to two major questions: (1) "Have the authors emphasized the link between public speaking skills and the ability of each student to become effective members of society?"; and (2) "To what extent have public speaking texts used the need for "citizen-orators" as a justification for the teaching and learning of public speaking skills?" Textbooks were divided into three time periods: the 1920s through World War II; 1946 to 1969; and 1969 to the present. Results indicated that the link between public speaking skills and civic life has always been acknowledged. Numerous textbooks have emphasized this relationship as a primary justification for teaching and learning public speaking skills. Prior to World War II, the role of public speaking in civic life was acknowledged. After World War II and during the Vietnam War, greater emphasis was placed upon the need for public speaking in our democracy. Texts written in the decade or so after World War II placed great stress on value of democracy, and the need to preserve democracy was a fundamental reason for the learning of effective public speaking skills. During the Vietnam War, students were encouraged to stand up for their beliefs and opinions and were advised to be actively involved in decisions that affected their future. Public speaking texts of this time stress the relationship between public speaking skills and the need for citizen activism. In the 1980's, the period of the "me generation," saw an emphasis upon communication skills that were more closely attuned to attaining personal and career goals rather than being needed for the sake of society as a whole. Today's college students may have varied reasons for taking a public speaking course and textbooks address many of these reasons. There appears, however, to be a renewed stress on the need for public speaking skills as a vital part of a democratic society. Public speaking textbooks of the 1990's are again placing emphasis upon this justification for teaching, as well as learning, public speaking. (Contains 43 references. The "Oath of a Public Speaker" is appended.) (CR)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A